Monday, April 13, 2015

Rockin' Yuri's Night

I have been trooping at Yuri’s Night since 2009, since the event first started in Cleveland.  As a kid who grew up a fan of both a Star Wars and NASA, this event is one of those dream trooping opportunities where I can enjoy both hobbies at the same time.  That is why I never pass up a chance to bring Great Lakes Base, Ohio Garrison, Rancor Clan and R2 Builders to the Great Lakes Science Center!

photo by: Joe Sokol
Yuri’s Night Cleveland is part of a worldwide celebration of space exploration; named after Yuri Gagarin – the first human to launch into space (April 12 th, 1961).  It also is the date of the first Space Shuttle launch back in 1981.  The event is also known as “World Space Party” in some places.  The event held at Great Lakes Science Center is covers all three floor of the museum, where guests can enjoy food, drinks, dance floor with live bands and DJs, as well as full access to the museum and NASA Glenn Visitor’s Center (located inside GLSC)

While many guests dress up in sci-fi or space-themed costumes, everyone is amazed when they see our crew of Star Wars characters walking around.  However, once again it was ScottyK and his R2-D2 who stole the show!  Being a Rebel Pilot, I love working with his R2 droid because it presents the opportunity to have a little fun with the guests as I play-acting "talk" with R2-D2 for everyone to hear… and Scotty (just a few feet away) can use his remote controls to move the droid to respond back to me.  Meanwhile, there are Stormtroopers, Jedi, Mandos spread out on every floor of the GLSC interacting with guest and posing for photos.  Honestly, once R2 has his line of photo requests next to the Skylab 3 module, my night consists of patrolling the museum checking on the rest of our crew.  Also happens to be a nice excuse to explore the GLSC! ;)

photo by: Joe Sokol
 This was a busy weekend on the Cleveland lakefront, as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (next door to the GLSC) was kicking off their Induction Week festivities; with FREE admission and a fireworks display off the deck of the steamship William G. Mather, docked between the two museums. 

After about three hours in costume, most of our guys change over into street clothes and enjoy the party!  Following the traditional balloon drop and march of the “Sam Adams" (one of the event sponsors) cardboard cutouts onto the dance floor, it’s time we make a discreet exit after yet another successful Yuri’s Night Cleveland.

Return of the Relay Jedi

by: flutefreak05

Over the weekend, I participated in the Relay for Life event held at Eastern Michigan University.  This event has a special meaning to me because it is at my school and also it was my first event with the Great Lakes Base last year.

For a second year in a row, I got to be the team captain and I had a lot of fun.  There was a little boy who would show me my trading cards I gave him when he would pass my campsite.  There was a little girl dressed as Princess Leia who smiled when she saw me.  There's was another little girl who loved my jedi costume and was happy when I posed for pictures and talked with her.  The campus police also got into it.  Although I was alone I got to raise money for a great cause and got to return to the event that started off my career with the rebellion.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Folly of TK-421

Now that the official announcement for Celebration Art Show has gone public, I am pleased to report that Chris Trevas will be one of the featured artists!  In fact, not only is the Michigan native and his latest work: “The Folly of TK-421” going to be available during Celebration VII… but we can now report that several members of Great Lakes Base were used as reference models by Chris while conceptualizing this particular piece of art.  I had the chance to speak with Chris about this, once the “Imperial blockade” on information was lifted.

AWRI: What inspired you to bring a previously unseen moment from the SW saga such as "The Folly of TK-421"to life?

CT: I always wondered what happened off-screen during that scene.  While working on various Millennium Falcon technical books, like the Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner's Manual, I would imagine different scenarios while looking at the floor plan of the ship.  What was the best way to ambush two pairs of Imperials as they came on board?  I pictured Chewie coming from the rear engineering area and Han from the cockpit side, their unsuspecting targets caught between them.  The smuggling compartments are the perfect place to hide the bodies of course!

AWRI: Fun fact = You held a small photo shoot during our GLB 5 year anniversary celebration where you used GLB members Kieron Dillon (as Han Solo) and Chris Blackstock (as Chewbacca) reference models.  How helpful was it for your creative process to have a pair of Rebel Legion costumers to visualize the scene in real-life ahead of time?

CT: It's extremely helpful to have detailed reference especially for a piece this large.  I first planned out the scene with 6-inch scale Black Series figures to get the basic perspective and composition down.  Shooting the action with live models I can work it out in more detail and really bring a scene to life.  Their accurate costumes let me get the lighting, fabric folds, Wookiee hair, and all the other little details just right.

AWRI: Celebration VII is big opportunity to have your artwork exposed to a wider audience, how would you rank "The Folly of TK-421" in your collection of work?

CT: It's hard for me to pick favorites from my work, but I'm very proud of my Celebration print series from the last few years and I think The Folly of TK-421 is a worthy successor to the others like “His Vision Returns” and “The Hunter and His Prey.”   Star Wars Celebration is usually the only convention I set up at so I spend a lot of time planning and doing my best work for the Art Show.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Special Wish

Micah, an 8 year old who recently underwent heart transplant surgery, wanted more then anything to play the NEW “Star Wars: Battle Pod” game at Dave and Buster’s for his birthday.  Well, thanks to A Special Wish foundation he got a little more then that as members from Great Lakes Base, Ohio Garrison and Rancor Clan were also there to help celebrate his BIG day.

Missions like this are why many of us join these Star Wars costume groups!  Our guys arrived early on a Sunday morning at the Dave and Buster’s in Westlake, Ohio and quickly were hidden away in one of the private party rooms.  Just as Michah and his family arrived, we were standing there to greet them along midway leading into the D&B arcade.  Several of local news crews were also there as Micah came running up to us to give Darth Vader a big hug.  And since it would be rude to show up to a birthday party without a gift, we presented Micah with a gift bag filled with Star Wars toys, books and fun stuff.

You can watch WOIO 19 Action News footage of Micah's arrival at Dave and Buster's HERE

From there Micah lead us, especially Darth Vader – by the hand – straight to the “Star Wars: Battle Pod” game where he played the Battle of Yavin level.  From there he wanted to drive race cars with us, but he couldn’t reach the foot peddles (despite our best efforts) on the first game… so we packed up and moved to the next game where he could reach the gas pedal on his own.  We cheered on Micah as he played and even joined him on a couple video games and winning tickets to exchange for prizes in the D&B shop.

Eventually, it was time for us to head back to our “transport” for the long trip home, but not before this Rebel Pilot got a chance to try out “Star Wars: Battle Pod” for himself!  The game is AWESOME and you feel like you are living out the movies; especially when you are dressed for the part! ;)

Charlotte's Wings

by: flutefreak05

Great Lakes Base and Great Lakes Garrison started the weekend at the North Hill School Carnival in Rochester Hills.  The donations we received at our photo booth went to Charlotte's Wings, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to donate books to children in hospital and hospice care in Michigan.

When I first arrived I met a little girl saw my lightsabers and both her mom and her talked to me and I explained I was in the 501st and the Rebel Legion and what we do in the community.  The little girl told me she had just seen star wars and how excited she was for the new movie to come out.  She came up to me a couple of times during the event and to get a few of our members to go in the photo booth that her mom was running.  When my fellow Jedi and I walked over there she had the biggest smile on her face and asked if she could go in there with us; we said yes.

The smile on her face says how excited she was. She was also interested in Mara Jade was; in fact quite a few kids knew who Mara was.  I'm happy that I got the chance to make a little girls day and I was reminded why I do what I do.  Long live the rebellion!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cub Scout Blue and Gold

by: flutefreak05

Last weekend, Great Lakes Base and Great Lakes Garrison were present at the Cub Scouts Pack 323 "Blue and Gold" ceremony.  This ceremony was “Star Wars” themed and the characters that attended were Jocasta Nu, Mara Jade Skywalker, a Tusken Raider and two Stormtroopers.  The kids enjoyed seeing Star Wars characters and we even found a library for our Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu.  

During the "crossing over" portion of the program, Jocasta Nu handed the “Arrow of Light” patches to the each of the Webelos.  The Arrow of Light is the highest award available to Cub Scouts. These patches also had lightsabers on them, in keeping with the theme of the ceremony.

As a thank you, the Scout leaders gave us a gift bag with lightsaber cookies, lightsaber pencils, trading card of the event host, a hand written thank you note, and a patch for the Blue and Gold ceremony.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I love the smell of pancakes in the morning...

...smell like VICTORY! (tastes like it as well)

After a bitterly COLD winter that would cause even Tauntauns to seek warmer climates, the Rotary Club of Canton, Ohio annual pancake breakfast and health and wellness screening event is a welcomed sign of spring.  Members from Great Lakes Base, Ohio Garrison, Rancor Clan and Dark Empire assembled at Canton McKinley High School on this cold and rainy morning.  Of course, nothing helps you feel better on a morning like this then the smell of fresh pancakes, maple syrup and glass of orange juice!

The public was treated to something of a “character breakfast” as our guys mingled around the cafeteria, stopping to pose for pictures and interact with guests as they enjoyed their meal.  “Slider” from the Cleveland Indians was also there, and you know we had to get a few pictures with him as well.

The McKinley Jazz Band performed during the breakfast, and these kids were pretty good!

Later on, we got the chance to suit out and enjoy some breakfast for ourselves.  The food was great and so was the hospitality of our hosts.

The slogan for the Rotary Club of Canton is: “Service Above Self” – which is a very good way to describe why we troop events like this.